How to qualify for the J-1 hospitality program
The United States’ BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is designed to give foreign nationals the ability to expand their careers and education by traveling to the U.S.
At Hospitality Placements USA, we specialize in helping young professionals in the hospitality industry secure their J-1 Visa and find a paid placement in a luxury hotel. We’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to qualify for the J-1 Program.
The program isn’t right for everyone, and also not everyone can qualify.
We’re going to show you a few things that you need to keep in mind if you’re considering applying for a J-1 Visa including all the basics, some common questions, and the eligibility criteria.
The BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor Program can be a game-changing opportunity for young professionals to build an impressive resume and gain experience that couldn’t be achieved in their home country.
The BridgeUSA J-1 hospitality program basics
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was originally created in 1961 to help strengthen relations between the United States and other countries. Visitors to the U.S. have the opportunity to visit for a short period of time and receive hands-on training in a professional environment.
To secure your J-1 Visa, you have to go through a strict application process and meet all of the stringent eligibility requirements laid out by the U.S. State Department and your own home country. This includes finding a program sponsor and securing a position at a host company.
Sponsors are designated by the State Department to screen and select potential exchange visitors that meet government regulations and issue your Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status that you’ll need to get your visa.
Host Employers will extend an offer of paid training to you during your J-1 Visa Program. They will pay you stipend during your program and will be providing training and job experience for you.
Depending on the type of training, and the company that sponsors your visa, your spouse may also be able to secure a J-2 Visa that would allow them to travel with you.
J-1 hospitality program qualifications
In order to participate in the J-1 program, the U.S. State Department has laid out some requirements that you have to meet.
- You must have proficient English skills to perform in both social and training activities.
- You should have a permanent residence in your home country that you do not intend to abandon.
- You should be intent upon leaving the U.S. once your program is completed — and you should be prepared to demonstrate your intent to the Embassy when you apply for your visa.
- Make sure that your training in the U.S. would be in a field that would be helpful to you in your home country.
- Be willing to commit to your program for the full duration of it.
- Be able to qualify for basic health insurance that will be provided by your sponsor organization for the duration of your program.
- Be 18-years-of-age or older, in good health, and able to perform your duties as outlined in your program.
- Have the funds required to be able to cover all expenses and accommodations on arrival in the USA.
Additionally, interns and trainees each have their own requirements.
Interns must be currently enrolled as a full-time student in a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. or they have to have graduated in the past 12 months with a hospitality, hotel management, tourism or culinary related degree. It’s also preferable if you have related experience or on-the-job training for the position that you’re applying for.
Trainees must hold a hotel-related, hospitality or culinary degree or diploma in addition to one year of full-time hospitality-related work experience outside the U.S. or at least 5 years of relevant work experience.